Archive for March, 2007

Life is good

It was one of those dinner times. Certain of the offspring acting up, Police Dad trying to enforce some kind of order; couldn’t wait for it to be over (despite the fact that the food was quite good). One of those times when you look longingly at the Way-Better-Half and dream about how pleasant the empty nest will be…

When suddenly, out of nowhere, the Fiver, a forkful of tasty dinner hanging half out of his mouth, pipes up; “Life is good, isn’t it??” Barely able to suppress upwellings of laughter (Mr. Seth doesn’t like to be laughed at), we had to admit that, yes indeed, despite the childish follies, life was good indeed!

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I am not here…but wish I was!

It’s OK to dream. And here is my earthly dream destination.

A house on a lake. Preferably in the Adirondacks. With plenty of room for guests, and (eventually) grandchildren.

To get up in the morning, read and think and work and write by the waterfront, coffee in hand and camera ready for the next moment of beauty…

But for now, it’s New Jersey! Oh well, things could be much worse, I suppose…

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Go Vandy!

My alma mater, Vanderbilt, has reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament.

I will note that the alma mater of my brothers, and even of my bride, UConn, is no longer present and accounted for. Now I do like seeing UConn win, but Vandy needs a shot here!

And here is a very interesting article on why a strongly academic school like Vanderbilt manages to compete in the SEC – at least in some sports (football is another story, of course…).

Update – oh, well, they lost, on a last-second shot by Georgetown. It was a great shot actually, even if the G’town player traveled in the process. And I have never seen such a great exhibition of ball-handling and passing as the clinic Vandy put on during that game!

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Working at home

For the past 8 months, I’ve been working from home as a consultant, and overall, I love it.

At times, however, I’ve got to escape. That’s where Retro Fitness comes in!

One of the frustrations of my prior job was that I could not schedule time and opportunity to get/stay in shape. For the past 6 months, however, that’s been remedied by an almost daily trek over to Retro, which opened here in town late last year.

This place has a great concept – 20 bucks a month, lots of weight machines and a variety of cardio machines (each of those with individual video screens), and a “movie theater” room with cardio machines and various older movies playing. During the day, when I go, very little traffic (evenings and weekends are a different story!) All in all, a wonderful escape from the inertia of the desk.

My son David (who also joined) and I have been pushing each other along on bench pressing. I hit 175 lbs. last fall a month earlier than my original goal, and now I’m aiming for 200. Still trying to catch up to Nathan, who is getting too big for his britches – the old man hasn’t given up on surpassing him yet!

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New hormone found!

Everyone knows about estrogen, the consummate female hormone; and testosterone, that chemical fuel of maleness. But now, in a striking new finding, a third major hormone has been identified, which up to now has been “cloaked” under the overarching influence of testosterone. This remora of hormonal entities was uncovered in a retrospective study of 3,592,103 males, conducted by Dr. Will Knotwork of the University of Whales.

The powerful hormone, tentatively named “follygen,” begins to show its influence at puberty – typically around age 12-13 in Western countries. Young males who may have been relatively sane and docile will, at a certain point, suddenly begin to lapse into unexplainable behaviors typically labeled as “insane,” idiotic,” “loony,” “brain-dead,” and “folly,” from which the newly-identified entity gained its moniker.

Examples of this behavior may include, but certainly aren’t restricted to, swinging axes in near proximity to their own flesh, riding bicycles on picnic tables, running into trees deliberately, and laughing maniacally at precisely nothing. There is extensive anecdotal evidence from parents in many cultures that “follygen” afflicts approximately 98.4% of all boys, often creating a “spillover effect” with young girls, who seem to osmose the folly from their companions and also behave as if brain-damaged.

Preliminary studies indicate that nothing can be done to treat, disarm, or ameliorate the effects of follygen. No boy or parent will escape its effects unscathed. In most (but not all) cases, the effects of follygen diminish sufficiently by the early 20’s that the prognosis of a semi-normal life is usually issued.

WARNING: Treating, or attempting to treat, follygen-afflicted individuals with such standard therapies as common sense, lectures, and sound reason will lead inexorably to side effects such as grey hair, ulcers, and overuse of cabernet sauvignon in the evening.

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Lunar Eclipse

As I write, a near-total lunar eclipse is in progress outside – just came in from the awesome sight of a darkened reddish moon, in the midst of that rarest of conjunctions, nice weather accompanying a stellar event!

My Fiver got to look through big-person binoculars to see his first eclipse. Will he remember it? I don’t know. But I remember some of these things from my youth, such as Bennett’s Comet and the like. Good stuff!

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The winter that wasn’t

Here in the northeast, it hasn’t been much of a winter. The Queen and I took a stroll around the yard today – I didn’t need a jacket – and saw some snowdrops popping up, while the last of the snowmen continued their inexorable downward return to the water table.

I’m ready. Unless there’s a ton of snow, winter is just a long drag. But we did get enough of a cold snap for some jaunts onto the ice. I put on my skates and embarrassed myself for a while trying to regain a long-lost sense of balance and coordination while perched on a knife-edge. The Fiver, on the other hand, needed no special footwear. He just ran, slid, and laughed his way across the lake, spreading cheer as he does each day about the house.

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I’m being used

We’ve been together for years.

I’m not going to send her away. And, she doesn’t seem inclined to leave. But this relationship hasn’t been what I had hoped it would be.

She stays with me, I suspect, because it’s convenient. I feel like my role in life is to provide for her needs. She doesn’t display a lot of warmth; in fact, she’s pretty stand-offish. When SHE feels like it, a crumb of affection might be tossed my way, but only on her terms. If I want her close, she stiffens up and can’t wait to find something else to do. That’s disheartening for a man.

Nonetheless, I’m in it for the long haul. You take the good with the bad.

And her brother. He’s living with us now, too. Actually, he’s more fun to be around than she is, by and large. He’ll hang out and keep me company. He does a few tasks around the house. But mostly, he sleeps during the day, and some nights, he’s out ’til all hours. And, I’m sure I’m being used by him too. Certainly he never wants to miss a meal! But will he get it himself? – Ha! – only on the rarest occasions.

I know a lot of other guys are stuck in this situation. You really never know what you’re getting until you’re too deep in it to get out. Trading your attentions and your patience for a few measly scraps of half-hearted affection. Feeling like your only role in life is providing food and shelter. Feeling used.

Oh, well, even though I’m being used by her, I’m also used to her. And her brother. So we’ll keep things as they are. They do occasionally bring a present or two to the door, even if it’s a dead rodent.

So, Mittens, you and Spike can hang around for as long as you like. We’re sort of attached to you now.

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Seeing Saturn

New Saturn images, sent via return space-mail from Cassini.


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